Fusion X

Sometimes two modalities are better than one.

A well-rounded group exercise schedule boils down to three basics: flexibility, cardio and strength. While these are the fundamentals of fitness, one other crucial element must not be neglected: fun.

Classes such as Pilates, yoga and cycling are essential elements of a Group X schedule, but it is also important to provide unique options via classes that are up and coming.

“Balance Gym is very big on fitness being fun, so because of that, I am always trying to find the next big thing that is going to keep people excited and coming back,” said Amanda Schmidt, the fitness director at Balance Gym in Washington, D.C. “I always try to find those classes that people are looking for in private studios, then offer them in our gym setting at a much cheaper [rate].”

What is the next big trend that will keep your members coming back for more? Currently, fusion workouts are offering great possibilities. These fun exercise programs incorporate multiple modalities into one class, and many gyms are beginning to add them to their scheduling lineup.

Balance Gym recently launched Piloxing, Spin and Sculpt, and POUND. According to Schmidt, the classes have been a huge success, and Piloxing and POUND have become some of the gym’s most popular classes. “People in general are short on time and they are all about getting the most bang for your buck when you go to class,” explained Schmidt. “There are also people who get really stuck into one class, so making [that class] as well-rounded as possible is beneficial.”

When it comes to fusion classes, creativity is required. Not only can you launch programs that have already been developed, such as Piloxing, but you can also create your own programs. This is precisely what Crunch has done with some of its classes.

“We try to be the first gym chain to launch something that has just hit the marketplace and then create around that,” explained Donna Cyrus, the senior vice president of programming at Crunch. “We will start with the basic class and then if it is highly successful, we will add on to it.”

Crunch was early to hop on the TRX bandwagon and once the program proved to be successful, decided to expand upon the format by adding different layers, such as flexibility and intense cardio. “We offer our basic TRX class, which is called BodyWeb [with TRX],” said Cyrus. “Now we have added more of a flexibility class where the movements are a lot more focused on flexibility. We also offer a BodyWeb Bootcamp class, which is very hardcore and much more of a cardiovascular program.”

Crunch’s Ride Yogi Ride program is a perfect example of the various benefits of fusion workouts. Participants spend half of the class cycling and the other half working their flexibility through yoga.

“A lot of time, people who are only taking a [cycle] class never stretch, so the flexibility component needs to be introduced because injuries will start to appear when that is all you do,” said Cyrus. “Clients doing one modality will also plateau because of muscle memory, so the body can’t improve.”

Not only can doing the same exercises day-in and day-out cause your members’ bodies to plateau and deter progress, it can also become extremely boring. Sooner or later, your members will likely get tired of taking the same classes and venture elsewhere. Fusion classes are an ideal way to combat member boredom.

Keep in mind that sometimes these unique and unfamiliar formats might be intimidating to members. As a result, Schmidt explained you might have to give members a little push to try them out.

“When we launched POUND, we would do a couple of POUND songs during a typical Zumba class so that people could get a preview of it,” said Schmidt. “Sometimes we launch a class with an event. We will also announce the class in our newsletter, on our website and social media, hang signs around the gym and then [from there] it grows from word of mouth.”

To try fusion classes at your club, select a popular exercise modality and add something unique to both enhance the workout and engage your members. “I am always trying to think of things that will get people to stay, because if they go to the same class over and over again they will get bored,” added Schmidt. “I am looking into offering a new class that combines [cycle] and barre. There is a lot out there so for me it is important to be on top of it before any one else hears about it.”


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